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Investing in revitalization: Downtown Inc honors York City advocates

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An investment is an act that may involve time, energy and efforts in something worthwhile. Along the way, there may be sacrifices or gambles, but in the end, the hope is a contribution.

And when it comes to downtown York, Silas Chamberlain said the community has invested quite a bit in the city, so much so, that 48 businesses, nonprofits and individuals were nominated for the 18th annual Downtown First Awards.

“This is one of our favorite times of the year because it gives Downtown Inc, and all of us, the opportunity to say thank you to the people who make downtown York a better place in which to live, work and visit,” said Chamberlin, Downtown Inc's CEO.

During the awards ceremony held Thursday night at Logos Academy, Chamberlin also noted that 45 new businesses moved into downtown York City and described the transition of South Beaver Street from vacant to booming with a variety of businesses.

“When people talk about downtown York, they often use the word ‘revitalized.’ We have reached this point thanks to the work of many people, and we are honored to call attention to everyone who has played a role in our city’s renaissance,” he said.

Assisting in that renaissance was the Outstanding Large Business honoree, Rite Aid and the Outstanding Small Business honoree, Weary Arts Group.

Though a part of a national chain, Rite Aid has made a strong commitment to downtown York, said Philip Briddell of Susquehanna Real Estate, during the ceremony. Last year, the business extended its store hours on evenings and weekends and remodeled its West Market Street location to better accommodate the needs of city residents.

Weary Arts Group uses the arts to transform York by providing a community outreach center that serves as safe haven for city youth, said Eric Menzer, president of York Revolution. Programming at Weary Arts Group includes a summer camp teaching arts, music and theater skills.

Cal Weary, CEO of Weary Arts Group, said that after being nominated a number of times in the past, it was great to be embraced by the downtown.

“I’ve been involved in arts my entire life and it’s a blessing to be able to do what you love,” he said. “And knowing that it’s ultimately the community that decides, it’s just icing on the cake.”

Other award recipients include:

  • Outstanding New Business/Merchant: Revival Social Club
  • Outstanding Merchant: The New Hub Store
  • Outstanding Nonprofit: Stick N Move Boxing
  • Better York Appell Beautification: Iron Horse York and Yohn Property Management
  • Outstanding Individual within an Organization or Business: Kate Harmon of The Parliament Arts Organization
  • Outstanding Volunteer: JJ Sheffer

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Emily Thurlow

Emily Thurlow

​Emily Thurlow covers York County​ for the Central Penn Business Journal. Have a tip? Drop her a line at ethurlow@cpbj.com. Follow her on Twitter @localloislane.

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